Sunday, May 31, 2015

Pepper Steak

Pepper Steak brings back fond childhood memories.  As I was growing up, we had Pepper Steak on a regular basis.  My mother usually used round steak, sliced up some green peppers and made a sauce for the meat to cook in.  In addition, she would slice up some canned tomatoes.  Then the Pepper Steak was served over rice. A very nice and satisfying meal.

This past week, I made a version of this dish for my family.  I found a wonderful recipe on Epicurious.   This recipe omits the tomatoes (I wasn't that fond of them anyway) and adds colorful peppers which makes the dish look appetizing and kicks up the flavor.  The sauce is made with some soy sauce, cornstarch, and water.  Cook all of the ingredients in the sauce and coat the veggies and the meat well.  I served the Pepper Steak over some rice.

This was an easy, satisfying and delicious dish that the family enjoyed.  I will be making this recipe again. 

Pepper Steak
From Epicurious


1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 pound beef loin sirloin steak, cut crosswise into 3- by 1/4- by 1/4-inch strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
4 bell peppers in assorted colors, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 garlic cloves, sliced
Accompaniment: cooked white rice


1. Stir together soy sauce, cornstarch, and 1/3 cup water in a cup.
2. Pat steak dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Stir-fry half of steak until browned but still pink inside, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon and repeat with remaining steak, adding 1 tablespoon oil to skillet.
3. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and stir-fry bell peppers, onion, and garlic, until onion is golden, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons water and cook, covered, 3 minutes. Return steak to skillet, then stir in cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Makes 4 servings

Friday, May 29, 2015

Creamy Banana Pops

It's getting hot outside.  Time to dig out and clean my Popsicle molds. These delicious frozen treats were a favorite of mine as a kid.  When I was a kid there weren't the exotic flavors that you can make today.  Pudding pops, berry pops, smoothie pops, yogurt pops, - you get the picture.

Today's recipe is for creamy banana pops.  So easy to make and so creamy and delicious.  Take some ripe bananas and toss them in a blender with some cream, milk, sugar,  and vanilla extract.  Swirl until smooth.  Pour the mixture into some Popsicle molds. Put on the tops and freeze.

If you don't have Popsicle molds  - not to worry.   Just pour the mixture into 5-ounce paper cups.   Let the pops freeze for about 1 hour so you can insert a wooden stick in the center.  Place back in the freezer until solid.  Remove from freezer and enjoy a delicious frozen treat.  A great way to enjoy the hot summer days:)

Creamy Banana Pops 
From Dave Lieberman Adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen
Special Equipment:Popsicle molds-12 or 12 Paper Cups 5- ounce size and 12 wooden sticks

2 medium bananas, very ripe
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.   Place all of the ingredients in a blender.  Blend until smooth.
2. Pour mixture into Popsicle molds or paper cups.  Place in the freezer.  For Paper Cups Only: Place pops in the freezer for 1 hour.  remove and insert a wooden stick in the center of the pops.  Return to freezer.
3. Freeze the pops until solid - about 4 hours.
4. Remove the Popsicle from the freezer. Let the molds sit for about 5 minutes or more.   Remove the pops from the mold and serve.  For the cups.  Peel the paper cups away and serve. 

Makes 12  popsicles

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Chicken Noodle Casserole

What smells so good?  That was my daughter's question as she arrived home from work.  I informed her it was Chicken Noodle Casserole.  And yes, dinner was almost ready.  

This  casserole is  great tasting comfort food.   The major ingredients are chicken, vegetables, sauce, and noodles.  In this recipe, tender chicken is coated in a delicious cheesy sauce.  To the sauce, add some carrots, onions, and peas.  Stir in some cooked egg noodles and your casserole is almost ready  for the oven.  Pour the mixture into a baking dish and add a crunchy  topping of Ritz crackers. Bake in a 425 F degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly.  Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.   

There is deliciousness in every bite.  A great dish for family/friends.

This recipe is from"Cook's Country" magazine and serves 8.

Chicken Noodle Casserole
8 ounces wide egg noodles
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine
1 onion, chopped fine
1 carrot, peeled and chopped fine
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups chicken broth
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 cup (4-ounces) cheddar cheese shredded
1 cup (4-ounces) American cheese, chopped
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
20 Ritz Crackers, crushed coarse

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.  Bring 2 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven.  Add noodles and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and cook until just al dente, about 3 minutes.  Drain noodles in colander and rinse under cold running water until cool, about 2 minutes.  Drain again thoroughly and set aside.
2. Heat oil in now-empty pot over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, carrot, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to bowl.
3. Whisk cornstarch together with 3 tablespoons broth in small bowl; set aside.  Combine evaporated milk and remaining broth in now-empty pot and bring to boil over high heat.  Add chicken, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until chicken registers 155 degrees, 8 to 10 minutes.  Transfer chicken to plate.
4. Whisk cornstarch mixture into sauce, return to boil, and cook until thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove pot from heat and whisk cheddar and American cheeses into sauce until smooth.  Shred chicken into bite-size pieces using 2 forks.  Stir peas, shredded chicken, noodles, mushroom mixture, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/4 teaspoons pepper into cheese sauce until combined.
5. Transfer mixture to 13 by 9-inch baking dish and top with crackers.  Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 15 minutes.  Let casserole cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Serve.

Serves 8

Friday, May 22, 2015

Chai Tai Beverage

I have been working out in the garden this past week to get things planted and looking nice.  Being outdoors, I like to have something cool to drink.  Usually, I have some lemonade or some iced tea or coffee.  Today, I made myself a Chai Tai beverage that I found in Family Circle magazine.  I made a few changes to the original recipe.  I kept the same ingredients but added a tablespoon of chia seeds and honey.   The result was a refreshing hydrating beverage that had the taste of bananas complimented by  cinnamon with a hint of cloves and cardamom.   The dates and chia seeds added an interesting and flavorful texture to the drink.

Chai Tai
From Family Circle Magazine Adapted From My Southwest Kitchen

1 cup vanilla soy milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 cup coconut water
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch salt
2 medium frozen bananas sliced
1 cup ice cubes

1. Soak chia seeds in the vanilla soy milk and the dates in coconut water for 30 minutes.
2.  Place all of the ingredients in a blender and puree on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until smooth and creamy.

Makes 2 servings

Just a Quick Note:  I wanted to let you know I am now a member of Yummly.  You will see a YUM button on my recipes.  Click and you will be able to save your favorite recipes.  Thanks

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Smoothies are a favorite warm/hot weather beverage at my house.  We drink them for breakfast, snacks, swimming team practice, etc.  We have old favorites and are always willing to try new ones.   Today, I am trying two new ingredients in my smoothies.  Peanut butter powder and chia seeds.   I have been seeing peanut butterpowder in the stores and have read different recipes using it.  It sounds interesting.   Chia seeds are my latest health kick.  I am using them every way I can think of.  Oatmeal, smoothies, our favorite juice - I just add 1 tablespoon chia seeds, stir and let sit for 30 minutes, soy milk, - you get the idea.

In this recipe, I used both peanut butter powder and chia seeds. Note:  I let the chia seeds soak in the soy milk for about 30 minutes before I made the smoothie.  Like all smoothies, I put everything in the blender and gave it a whirl.  Again, another incredible smoothie.  Rich, creamy, with a very light nutty flavor.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie


1 cup  vanilla soy milk
1 tablespoon  chia seeds
1 frozen banana,thawed lightly, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon Peanut Butter Powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Stir chia seeds into the soy milk.  Let them soak for 30 minutes.
2. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Serve.

Makes 2 smoothies

Friday, May 15, 2015

Easy Shrimp Casserole

I go through stages it seems when I cook.  I do a lot of crock pot recipes, one dish recipes, skillet dinners - you get the idea.  Lately, I have been fixated on skillet dinners.  They are quick, easy, tasty and budget friendly.

Today's recipe is for a Shrimp Casserole.  It is extremely easy to make and tastes wonderful.  Rice is coated in a mild tasting shrimp sauce (cans of cream of shrimp soup) with some green peppers, onions, and seasoning.  Add some shrimp, sprinkle with cheese and breadcrumbs.  Bake for about 25 minutes and you have a very satisfying and delicious meal.  I made only one slight modification to the recipe in the preparation area.  Instead of putting the ingredients in a baking dish, I just used my large - 12-inch diameter, 2.5-inches depth oven proof skillet.    I cooked everything in the skillet and then transferred it to the oven.  It worked out beautifully.

Easy Shrimp Casserole
From My Recipes

1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
1 1/2 pounds medium-size raw shrimp
1/2 cup butter
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 green onions, chopped
2 (10 3/4-oz.) cans cream of shrimp soup, undiluted*
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar-Colby cheese blend
1/4 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs

1. Prepare rice according to package directions.
2. Peel shrimp, and devein, if desired.
3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add bell pepper and next 4 ingredients, and sauté 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Stir in soup, shrimp, salt, and pepper; cook 3 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. (Do not overcook.)
4. Combine shrimp mixture and rice. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup shredded cheese and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs.
5. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted.

*2 (10 3/4-oz.) cans cream of celery soup, undiluted, may be substituted.

Makes 8 servings

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Maple Cherry Pecan Refrigerator Oatmeal

Breakfast -  a favorite meal of mine.  The problem is at times it gets hectic and breakfast can be reduced to a cup of coffee on the run. However, this recipe is  fast, healthy, and a doable breakfast.  The oatmeal can be served straight from the fridge or heated up in the microwave.

You prepare the oatmeal the night before and put it in the fridge overnight.  In the morning your breakfast is done.  I love this recipe not only because of the convenience but because it is so versatile.

If you don't have dried cherries, substitute cranberries or some other dried fruit.  No pecans, use walnuts.  Not too fond of maple syrup- use honey.  Want to use a nut or a rice milk feel free.  The possibilities are almost endless.

I make my oatmeal in an 8 ounce mason jar.  I put in the oats, some chia seeds, milk, dried cherries, pecan pieces, and some maple syrup in the jar.  I cover with the lid and shake well to combine.  Pop it in the fridge and in the morning my breakfast is done.  I top it with some fresh fruit, stir and enjoy.

This recipe makes 1 serving.

Maple Cherry Pecan Refrigerator Oatmeal

1/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons dried cherries
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon pecan pieces
Fresh fruit for topping (optional)

1. Add the ingredients except for the fresh fruit to an 8-ounce mason jar.  Cover with the lid and shake until com;pined.
2. Place the jar in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 5 hours.
3. Top with some fresh fruit before serving if you wish.

Serves 1

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Avocado Smoothie

As I am writing this post, I am sipping on a wonderful Avocado Smoothie:)  It is so rich and creamy and very revitalizing.  I am a fan of avocados.  I love their buttery texture and their rich creamy taste.  Not only do they taste good - they a good for you.  Loaded with vitamins- at least 20, and minerals like potassium, lutein and folate. A superfood in my book.

Smoothies are easy to make.  Just place your ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour and serve.  You can sit and drink it or take it with you.

Avocado Smoothie
From BHG adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen

1 ripe avocado, halved, seeded, and peeled
1 banana
1/4 cup Vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup orange juice
Honey to taste
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 cups ice


1. In a blender combine avocado, banana, orange juice, plain Greek yogurt, honey, and ginger
2. Cover and blend until smooth. Add 2 cups ice; blend until smooth. Taste and add more honey if needed.

Serves 3

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Skillet Turkey Meatballs With Lemony Rice

It has only been recently that I have convinced my family to try turkey meatballs.  To them, a meatball could not be good unless it was made with beef, pork, or  a combination of the two.  That changed when they ate their first turkey meatball.  Now they just love them and the kids get excited when I saw I am making turkey meatballs.

Today's recipe is a very springy recipe with its' light lemony flavor.  The use of lemon zest really flavors this dish up a notch.  I really liked what it did for the rice.  I could have made a meal of the rice.
The meatballs are also flavored with lemon zest.  In addition to the lemon zest, they are also flavored with some scallions, chopped parsley, salt and pepper.

The meatballs are first browned in a large skillet then removed to a plate.  Add the rice to the skillet and cook about 1 minute.  Add some scallion whites, garlic, and salt and cook about another minute.  Next, you add the broth, lemon juice and remaining lemon zest and bring the ingredients to a boil.  Add the meatballs, cover and cook until the rice is tender and the meatballs are cooked.  I had to cook mine about 30 minutes.

Remove the dish from the heat and let it stand for five minutes.  Sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese and remaining scallions, and parsley.  Serve with a lemon wedge.

A delightful dinner that is easy to prepare and is not lacking in taste.  It is wonderful.

Skillet Turkey Meatballs With Lemony Rice
From Cook's Country Magazine


2 sliced hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
6 scallions, white and green parts separated and sliced thin
1 large egg
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/3 cups long-grain white rice
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)


1. Pulse bread in food processor to fine crumbs, 10 to 15 pulses; transfer to large bowl.  Add turkey, 2 tablespoons scallion greens, egg, 2 tablespoons parsley, 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined.  Divide mixture into 20 portions (about 1 heaping tablespoon each).  Roll into meatballs, transfer to plate, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
2. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Cook meatballs until well browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes.  Transfer meatballs to paper towel-lined plate, leaving fat in skillet.
3. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add rice.  Cook, stirring frequently, until edges of rice begin to turn translucent, about 1 minute.  Add broth, lemon juice, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest and bring to boil.
4. Return meatballs to skillet, cover, and reduce heat to low.  Cook until rice is tender and meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit, covered for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit covered, for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with Parmesan, remaining scallion greens and remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.  Serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 4

Monday, May 4, 2015

Provencal Vegetable Soup

I loved the sound of this soup.  Once I made it,  I loved the taste.  Carrots, leeks, celery,green beans, cannellini beans, zucchini, and a tomato are simmered together in vegetable broth. Add some pasta and garlic.   The soup is seasoned with salt and pepper.   When you serve the soup,  drop in a hearty tablespoon of homemade pistou.

Pistou is similar to Basil Pesto but without the nuts.  It really added flavor and body to the soup.  This soup is hearty but not heavy.  It has a nice light flavor to it. Do not be fooled, it is satisfying and makes a nice lunch or light dinner.

Provencal Vegetable Soup
From Cook's Illustrated Magazine


3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced 1/2 inch thick, and washed thoroughly
1 celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 carrot, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1/2 cup orecchiette or other short pasta
8 ounces haricots verts or green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or navy beans
1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large tomato, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1. For the Pistou: Process all ingredients in food processor until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, about 15 seconds. (Pistou can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours.)
2. For the soup: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.  Add leek, celery, carrot, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in broth and water and bring to simmer.
3. Stir in pasta and simmer until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in haricots verts or green beans and simmer until bright green but still crunchy, 3 to 5 minutes.  Stir in cannellini beans and their liquid, zucchini, and tomato and simmer until pasta and vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve, topping individual portions with generous tablespoon pistou.

Serves 6

Friday, May 1, 2015

Cole Slaw

Today's recipe is very easy to make.  But do not let that fool you.  This recipe is delicious.  I started off by getting a bag of Cole Slaw mix and putting in a bowl.  In a small jar with a lid, I mixed together some avocado oil - you can use olive if you wish, some rice vinegar, salt and pepper.  Shook it up well and poured it over my Cole Slaw mix.  I tossed the slaw until it was well coated and placed it in the fridge until I was ready to serve it.

The result was a crisp tasting slaw with a nice light and tasty dressing.  It went perfect with our barbecue beef sandwiches.  

If you would like an alternative to the creamy cole slaw or just want some really good Cole Slaw give this recipe a try.

Cole Slaw
1 bag (16-ounce) Cole Slaw mix
1/4 cup avocado oil or olive oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste


1. Place Cole slaw mix in a large bowl.
2. In a small jar add the oil,vinegar, salt and pepper.  Shake well to mix.
3. Pour dressing over the Cole slaw mix.  Toss well to coat.
4. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 6 servings